Lake Charles
Baton Rouge

Louisiana woman claims controlled burn caused car accident

When a local, state or federal government conducts a controlled burn, it is responsible for ensuring that the area remains free from dangers such as fire, debris from the burn or other hazards that could arise during the operation. This is the case regardless of whether government employees or contractors are carrying out the burn. A Louisiana woman claims that the federal government is responsible for the injuries she suffered in a car accident during a controlled burn in the area.

The woman was heading west on Louisiana State Highway 3130 on Jan. 15, 2012. She was unaware of a pine tree in the roadway and crashed into it, which caused her to suffer injuries. It turns out that a controlled burn was underway in the area, and a tree had fallen as a result. 

In her lawsuit filed against the U.S Food Service and/or the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the latter half of June, the woman claims that an unreasonable hazard was created when the tree fell. She further alleges that those on the scene were aware of the tree in the road, but they failed to remove it in a timely manner. Therefore, the defendants' negligence led to her injuries and subsequent damages, according to the victim.

Whether or not the woman's allegations have merit will be left up to a federal judge. If negligence is proved, the court may consider awarding the victim the damages she seeks in connection with the car accident such as loss of income and medical expenses (both current and future). In addition, she may also be awarded additional damages allowable under state law such as loss of enjoyment of life and pain and suffering.

Source:, "Driver blames government for road accident", Carol Ostrow, July 14, 2015


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